Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's my birthday, so I made myself a present. (How to make a lavender wand)

And I remembered to take pictures, so you can make one, too!

I read about Lavender Wands years ago - a nifty little sachet made of woven ribbon and stems of lavender - and wanted to try it myself.
There were a few bumps in the road, however...

Year one with the lavender - the plant was too young and didn't put off enough blooms.
Year two with the lavender - I picked the lavender, carefully dried it, then read the instructions. I was supposed to make the wand while the stems were still green and pliable. And unfortunately, I'd picked all the lavender. It's tucked away in my sewing room somewhere. I think.
Year three with the lavender - I forgot to watch for blooms. By the time I remembered to pay attention, it was too late. Blooming over.
Year four with the lavender - a tough winter killed off about half the plant. Not enough blooms.
Year five with the lavender - rain and more rain and even more rain. Not enough blooms.
Year six with the lavender - there'd been some recovery from winterkill, but summer was a repeat of the previous year. Still not enough blooms.
Year seven - hey! That's this year! And look! Lavender!

All you need is stems of lavender and ribbon. I used an inexpensive polyester ribbon, because that's what I had on hand. Silk ribbon would probably be extremely nice for this. Be sure to cut the lavender stems nice and long. (I used 17, because that was almost all I had. Be sure to use an odd number of stems!)

Step 1: Line up the bases of the flowers. Make a slipknot in the end of the ribbon and snug it up tight around the stems, just under the flowers. (Don't cut the ribbon from the spool. There's no way of estimating how much will be needed, and you don't want to run short in the middle of weaving.)

Step 2: Spread the stems out like the spokes of a wheel. The flowers will be pointed down, and the stems will be bent outward. Use your thumb to try to hold them into place.

Step3: Start weaving. For the first row or two, go over and under a couple of stalks at a time, since it's pretty tight going. (Note - you can weave clockwise or counterclockwise - whichever feels more comfortable. Doesn't make the least bit of difference in the final product.)

Step 4: Keep weaving. From here on, go over one, under one, around and around.

Here's what it looks like from the bottom.

Step 5: Start tapering. By pushing down gently on the stems, and pulling the ribbon a little tighter, the weaving will start to enclose the flowers. Keep going.

Basically, you're weaving a cage around the flowers.

Now here's where the camera bit me on the ass. Though it assured me it was diligently recording the pictures of the next steps, it lied.
So, step 6: (not pictured) When the weaving reaches the point shown in the last picture, start gradually pulling the ribbon a bit tighter as you go around. Not drastically, or the ribbon in previous rows will go all wonky and loose - you just want it to start gently tapering.
Step 7: (also not pictured) The last row or two, after you're past the last of the flower tips, will be woven over 2-3 stems at a time and under 2-3 stems. Wind the ribbon around the last row of weaving and then down the stems for an inch or so. Tie it off with a bow, cut the ribbon, and trim the ends of the stems even. Take a sniff or two (it smells divine!) and hang it somewhere airy to dry.


And only 7 years in the making! Maybe patience really does pay off...


Diane said...

Happy birthday to you!

That's a neat trick and you're very patient to wait 7 years to be able to do it.

Hope you enjoy the day!

Joansie said...

Happy Birthday! Love the lavendar wand. You are very creative. (I'm an August woman also.)

Laurie said...

Happy birthday! Very funny chronology. And I don't think I could do that. Without shredding the flower head, at least.

Anonymous said...

Lavender will not grow where I live; I'm just too far north. But I love the stuff. Good for you!

Bullwinkle said...

Year 1: Mangofeet posts too late in the season ...

Fabulous. I love lavender. And the idea of a wand. (I want to be in charge, some day: You! (bonk with lavender!) Off My Planet!)

Happy Birthday!

amy said...

Happy Birthday! And that lavender want is AMAZING! I am going to have to try that for sure!

Beckyinvt said...

I'm fascinated by your lavender wand!

Also, happy birthday!

Cookie said...

Happy Birthday!

You did a wonderful job with that lavender wand! I'm so sorry the camera wasn't playing nice.

I used to make those every summer. I'm either lazy or too busy and feel lucky when I manage to make lavender sugar.


elizabeth said...

I've hard of lavender wands, but I didn't know what one was before! Thank you, and happy belated birthday!